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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cloud Love, a romantic lesson on cloud types

Mammatus clouds..courtesy of google images

I'm fascinated by the sky. I've always marveled when clouds would take on strange and beautiful forms....
There is something surreal about the sky.

When I was young, I have a memory that I will never forget. My family was headed to a trip to Mississippi to visit my grandmother. I remember singing the song, "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands." 

As I was singing, I looked up at the sky..and the moonilight illuminated the clouds. They were formed into a pair of praying Hands.  Have you ever seen images in the clouds?  As a child we would lay on the grass and stare up at the sky and find elephants and puppies, and a variety of other living things.  Sometimes, we had to use our imagination...but on this particular night, on our way to my grandmother's house in MI crooked letter, crooked letter, "I", the image was perfect.

Two hands, touching..pointed towards Heaven ...praying..
"He's got the Whole World in His Hands."

Recently, I was driving to work and I saw my first ever heart shaped cloud... I thought it was amazing.. God knew the amount of water it would take to make two slopes curve toward to a point..and how many dew drops it would take to make two tiny arches at the tops of the points to form a heart...
Our God is interesting.

lately, I've been trying to come up with interesting blog posts. I wanted to write about the clouds. For, the past few days, I have actually researched clouds. They various cloud types, thier names, thier appearance.

Yesterday, on my way home from work....I found myself attempting to classify the various clouds. I saw an abundance of altocumulus...stacked high..they were thick and fat,, puffy and the color of cotton.

I learned that clouds, when stacked high, signify rain..and so yesterday I predicted rain...
About an hour later, the wind began to blow..and the sky grew slighty dark..but no rain came...
I was close..but I still haven't mastered meteorolgy....Yet..

Today, I want to give you a brief lesson in clouds. Let me forewarn you, however. You may find yourself analyzing..and putting them in nice little packages that say, Cirrus, or stratus or something or other...and you may just give yourself a I did...
Maybe we should just enjoy them.....
But how cool would it be to be sitting with your friends and saying.."My, My check out the mare on that cirrus."   

So this is what I have learned of technical terms..

There are 4 main cloud types.
1. Cirrus
2. Stratus
3. Cumulous
4. Nimbus

Let's start with Cirrus... In Latin, Cirrus means tuft or curl of hair...think thin and wispy..Cirrus clouds are thin..they are so high up in the sky that they are made up of tiny, ice particles.  If you see an abundance of these thin and wispy clouds, you can be certain of a clear and sunny day. 

Sometimes, Cirrus clouds have little tails called "mares" Think of a horse. A horse has a tail and is called a mare...

Here is a lovely picture of a cirrus cloud..a thin and wispy wonder of the sky..

courtesy of google images

This is a good example of cirrus mare tails..little horse tails in the shape of clouds!

 2. The next type of cloud for discussion purposes is the stratus cloud.  In Latin, stratus means layered..
Stratus clouds are usually low lying layered clouds..they are thick and usually signify rain is imminiment or will fast approach.  If something is layered, it is heavy..and if clouds are heavy..they are fat with raindrops..

Here are some pics of stratus clouds.

 I took this picture in the Jamaican mountains last year..

4.  The other day I was driving over a huge bridge and I saw the most dazzling array of cumulus clouds. It looked like hundreds of floating balls of cotton. They seemed perfectly spaced and it seemed they were everywhere. It left an impression in my mind as a sky I will never never forget. So, The next type of cloud I will discuss is the cumulus cloud. Cumulus clouds are the puffy, pretty clouds that look like cotton. In Latin, Cumulus means "pile" or "heap" Think of heaps of white..piled up to look like mounds of cotton. Or simple little floating tufts soaring through the air..
Cumulous clouds can turn into cumulonimbus clouds..which can bring rain..

On a side note: Clouds are also classifeid by how far up into the sky they reach. High means "alto" So cumulous clouds that go high into the air are called altocumulus clouds. 
This could probably get pretty detailed and this is meant to be a simple I'll stop there.

Here are some pics of cumulous clouds.

photo courtesy of google images

google image photo of cumulus clouds

More cumulous, esp. toward the bottom..

4. Next, we come to the nimbus cloud.
Nimbus clouds are storm clouds. In Latin, it means "nebula" or rain cloud.  Cumulous clouds can quickly gather and swell and turn into cumulonimbus clouds..or storm clouds..
similarly, stratus clouds can turn violent and progress into statonimbus clouds...

Cumulonimbus cloud..big whie, fluffy cloud grown into a storm cloud..tut tut..looks like rain..

Next, is my favorite part... the rare clouds..clouds that you may see only once in a lifetime. I am in awe at the rare beauty of the following clouds..

Let's start with the "mammatus" cloud. Mammatus clouds are typically non threating althought they can look menacing. They are associated with severe weather but ususally surface after the storm has passed. They are called mammatus because they appear like "mammaries."  I think a man must have named these clouds because only a man would envision boobs hanging out of the sky..

Despite the name, I am enchanted by these clouds. I saw them once.

Here are mammatus clouds.

I would love to see this. I saw mammatus clouds once, but not as defined. Look for them after bad weather.

If I had to choose a favorite type of cloud, I think I would choose the Asperatus cloud.  Asperatus means "rough"...
Asperatus clouds have been referred to as the "Jacque Cousteau" cloud because they resemble a turbulent ocean.
Asperatus clouds are rare. They were first spotted fairly recently in Scotland and other parts of the United Kingdom.
They caused a stir in the meterological world becasuse, how they  form is a mystery. This is the newest cloud type to emerge in over 50 years.

Look at these pictures and marvel.

The last cloud I will introduce is the lenticular cloud. Lenticular clouds form in the mountains..the air sweeping around the curves of the mountains make a very unique shape that resembles a UFO or flying saucer. Lenticular clouds are known as flying saucer clouds..

Enjoy these pics!

Well, I hope you learned something from this post. I love clouds and love to learn about the things I love.

So, grab a blanket on a sunny day and sit out under the sky...point out the shapes in the clouds and see if you can tell what kind of clouds that God has given you to enjoy.

post dedicated to Stacy LeBleu..who also loves clouds :)

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